tv U.S. Senate CSPAN January 26, 2011 9:00am-12:00pm EST
carbon, don't have a problem with. it contributes to air pollution which may reasonably anticipated to endanger public health or welfare. we are talking generalities. you don't think that language implies there could be a problem that someone in the epa could interpret to endanger public health or safety? >> that section of the clean air act is intended to give epa the authority to regulate when substances that were at the time the bill was passed were not known to be problematic become known to them. at the time people knew of carbon dioxide. i recommend you check with don dingell, the author of it. we should not intend that provision of the clean air act to give up authority for the epa
to regulate carbon dioxide. the language used cited which is an important point for other issues that is key to this debate and that is how specific should congress be when it delegates the legislative authority to the regulatory agencies? there has always been a debate back and forth with her general language like the languagehethe language like the language you cited is appropriate? a point you to an article from my testimony by professor at boston university, mr. lawson, e points out if you have the goodness act that said to the regulatory agency promulgate rules for goodness and niceness and figure out what the punishment should be, it would be too brought a delegation.
there is a spectrum and the constitution says no. they can't delegate all of its legislative authority to the agency. the reins act gives you the benefit of protecting against that because for major regulations they come back to congress. >> mr. mackintosh. apologize but the gentleman's time is expired. the chair would recognize the gentleman from florida, mr. ross. >> thank you, mr. chairman. when we talk about the regulatory environment. as a businessman one of the things i learned is if i want to be profitable or make sure i have got the right environment i try to manage my risks and the risks i look at our there are some insurance risks and market risk and resource risk but one of the things i have learned is the regulatory risk that exists is almost not manageable. the reason it is not manageable is there is no trend. no way you can anticipate what
the regulatory environment will be if you want to operate a business. my particular state there is a numeric nutrient water criteria that the epa is trying to oppose that my industry indicated it will cost 14,000 part-time jobs, lose over $1 billion annually, cost my fertilizer industry $1.6 billion of capital costs and operating costs. it would seem to me that this act, this reins act would allow a least some sense of risk management over the regulatory environment. would you agree? >> secondly. >> i reminded years ago when i was in the legislature, a smaller scale, i was active in a boy scout troop, they had a summer camp with property for 50
years. they want to put an odd house on for the summer camp but they found done even though they have no running water or electricity they had to get architectural drawings, they had to get -- deep he had to do a soil sample. before they could get anything in order to meet with the regulatory system is summer camp was over. what it taught me was logic and reason isn't always fair. in charge and exempt camping, hunting and fishing but without logic and reason you also lacks accountability. one of the things i want to ask you, would not be reins act allow for greater sense of accountability to where it should be along? >> i endorsed congressional oversight. hy have no qualms whatsoever
with your committee calling up, you called them bureaucrats. i called him committed career civil servants. political appointees at the agency. and ask what are you doing and why are you doing and what is the support for it? that is totally appropriate. i will answer your earlier question differently. if you are worried about trends, is no trend. last year congress passed a health care bill. this year it will implement -- just one house decides they don't like it, then it is not going to happen and in two years there will be another election and may be the other chamber will feel differently and the ability to predict what each election -- elections do have consequences -- i do believe that and agree with that. are you going to change every
two years possibility that the rule is on and off and on and off. that needs to -- leads to more uncertainty. the less predictability. >> you suggest the status quo is more certain in terms of assessing regulatory risk? >> you passed a bill, you then turn it over to the executive branch to faithfully carry out the laws and issue regulation. i agree with mr. adler. an agency is not a free agent. cannot do whatever it likes. it can only do what congress has said. if congress says take the levels at this level and the agency does that, it is faithfully carrying out -- >> wouldn't you agree -- >> congress enacted. >> terms of accountability, you have a greater degree of accountability where you will have elected representation? >> yes. the initial statute that authorized the agency is one that is full be accountable
because it is bicameral and passed by both houses of congress and signed by president and perfect that one house may think differently about it does not lead to greater accountability. what about the other house which may like the idea? you have gridlock. you have problems. those problems create greater uncertainty. >> with regard to gridlock, in terms of the bill the content of the bill says within three days of the regulatory rule the senate shall introduce their joint resolution so there would not be -- there would be an expedited fashion. i see my time is expired. >> on behalf of all of us we would like to thank our witnesses. without objection all members have five legislative days to submit additional questions for the witnesses which we will ask the witnesses to respond as
quickly as they can so their answers are part of the record. all members will have -- >> mr. chairman, i ask unanimous consent to enter into the record the crs report on total cost and benefits. >> without objection. >> thank you. >> all members have five legislative days to submit additional material for inclusion of the record with that on behalf of all of us. thank you for your expertise, your time and participation. this hearing is adjourned. [inaudible conversations]
[inaudible conversations] >> special inspector for the t.a.r.p. program will testify before congress on the troubled asset relief program today. live coverage from the house oversight committee begins at 9:30 a.m. eastern on c-span3. house majority leader eric cantor on the u.s. economy and federal spending. that is live from the heritage foundation at 11:30 eastern also on c-span3. now the inauguration of maryland gov. martin o'malley who defeated robert ehrlich in november. from the state house in annapolis this is 20 minutes.
[roar of jet engine] [applause] >> and now for the introduction of gov. o'malley as presented by an elected official who is a national history major. just this year, united states senator barbara mikulski from the great state of maryland became the longest serving u.s. senator, woman senator in the history of the united states.
[cheers and applause] and she would be the first to tell you the great this is not in the longevity but the quality of service. for all of us to and no senator mikulski she has never lost the common touch for the everyday man and woman. this makes her the greatest representative. now i present governor o'malley, united states senator barbara mikulski. [applause] >> good morning, everybody. what a beautiful day the lord has given us to bring us together in friendship, fellowship and freedom. and its is all leave the o'malley block of the irish that could bring out the sun shine on a day like today. remember the weather forecast?
stormy weather. o'malley changed that. remember the economic forecast? stormy weather. o'malley is going to change that too. it is a fair day for the o'malleys, a bad hair day for me. my heart is filled with joy today. here we are for this historic occasion. the 77inauguration of a maryland gov.. martin o'malley will become our 64th governor, the oldest state capitol in continuous use and the first peacetime capital of the united states. and yesterday was also a special day for governor o'malley. it was his 40 eighth birthday. let's give him an early shout out. dear friends inauguration,
usually about pond and circumstance but given where our country and our state is, this inauguration is less about pump and more about circumstance. america is a great country and maryland is a great state but the fact is we faced enormous and significant challenges. but when times are tough, the call for tough, strong leadership. and i believe that you and i would agree that martin o'malley in this tough time is a strong leader that will get us forward. [applause] >> we know the stark reality and we are facing a devastating recession. the state budget is $1.6 billion. our national debt is over a trillion. we know people are worried about their families and their future, jobs, opportunities, and people
have told us very clearly they want a stronger economy, safer community and more frugal government. i believe martin o'malley knows how to do this. when we talk about tough times and tough leadership we know how martin o'malley will be. building on the strong legacy of his first term we know that this will be based on values and for his first set of values will always come from his beloved family. today we have with us his mother barbara. i know deep in his heart he misses his father tom on this lovely day. this wonderful wife and their four wonderful children. and in that family, they grew up believing that everyone is your family. that we are all in it together. that each one needs to help the next one whether it is your
brother or sister. but martin o'malley believes everyone is your brother and sister. so when he goes to make those decisions, when he looks at that data and we know that martin, governor of the valley is the data driven guy but also of purpose driven guy, is not about numbers. it is not about statistics. it is about people. that is why he is so committed to moving maryland forward to strengthen our middle-class, have a major focus on jobs and build on what we have with an eye age, national-security agency, to build an innovation the economy and all of a sudden -- in our young people so that they will have a future. for martin o'malley this election was not only about this election. it was about the next generation and we know that will drive many
of his decisions. his values are also rooted in his faith that he learned from his family at the church at gonzaga high school. he found martin o'malley got his life by the beatitudes. one of the great lines are those who hunger and thirst have each other. he brings know-how and youthful idealism and that is why with those characteristics he will be able to lead us forward. i have known martin o'malley for 25 years and my first campaign he was -- he was my field director. in the last campaign he was my field director too. ..
>> i think that's a pretty good story, don't you? [applause] >> but during those 25 years, it's always been about issues about what's going on. but for martin o'malley, it's always been about people. it will always be about people. not only moving maryland forward but putting people first as we move maryland forward. he's going to bring vigor, vitality, visions to the statehouse. is going to be able to lead us
through dark times and even during good times. ladies and gentlemen, i think you would agree that as we look ahead, for martin o'malley he will always stand up for the little guy, for the little gal. that's why we want to be able to stand up for you today. and in closing i would like to quote ralph waldo emerson. about a nation's strength. because an nation's strength is its people. it's leadership. this is what emerson said on a day like today. what makes a nation and its foundation strong? what makes it mighty to defy, not gold, but only men and women, only men and women, that keep people great and strong. men and women who, for truth and honor state, stand fast and suffer long. brave men who work while others
sleep. brave men who dare while others like. they are the ones who built a nation and a lift into the sky. let's all stand up and lift our voices to welcome martin o'malley. [cheers and applause]r >> thank you very much. thank you very, very much. thank you all. thank you all so very, very much for being here. to my wife and to our children, grace and tara, and william and jack, to my mother, barbara o'malley, and my dad who i know is here in spirit, and my brothers and sisters, and to joe and barbara, monsignor burke, reverend hill, rabbi, lieutenant
governor anthony brown, and his beautiful family, anthony, thank you for the leadership you have given maryland. you are steady, move report has been an aspiration -- has been an inspiration to all of us and i thank you. to senator mikulski, thank you for your leadership, your friendship, your kind introduction, and your poetry. to senator cardin, senator sarbanes, to congressman cummings, congressman roethlisberger, congresswoman edwards, congressman harris, governor hughes, governor mandel, judge bell, to the county executives to the county commissioners, to the mayors of maryland, to president miller, to speaker bush and the men and women of the maryland general assembly, attorney general, treasurer, members of our national guard, and armed forces, and the many courageous veterans who are joining us here
today. a special welcome to mayor greg of the district of columbia, washington, d.c., and governor mcdonald who joins us from the commonwealth of virginia. thank you all. thank you for your leadership. thank you for your service. and thank you for your presence here today. to the people of maryland, thank you for trusting me to serve you at this pivotal time in our history. today, we reaffirm, today we reaffirm that we are one maryland. united by our believes in the dignity of every individual. united by our own believe in our own responsibility to advance the greater good in our state there is no such thing as spare and americans. we are all in this together. and as one maryland, we ask god for his blessing, protection and grace. four years ago few of us could
have foreseen the suffering that so many maryland families would endure as our economy and financial markets nearly collapsed. we could not have imagined how many moms and dads would lose their jobs, would lose their homes, how many small businesses would be forced to close their doors. in times of adversity, such as these, the people of maryland do not make excuses. we make progress. determined to move forward out of this recession, maryland businesses started choosing to expand and to hire again, and are now doing so nearly twice the national rate of job creation. determined to make our children winners in this new economy and together we chose to improve our public schools with record investments. alone among the 50 states, we make college more affordable for more families by holding the line against any increase in college tuition for four years in a row.
[applause] >> together, we chose to invest in innovation, and biotech's, and renewable energy, in research and development. thanks to courageous firefighters and police officers, and better technology, and yes, stronger partnerships with our neighbors in the district of columbia we save lives by driving violent crimes, fire deaths and traffic deaths down to record lows with performance measured governance, a government that functions and works. we extended health care coverage to more families and family-owned businesses. we improve the health of the waters and the rivers of the chesapeake bay. and with our neighbors in virginia, and guided by science, we restored a blue crab population that was on the verge of collapse. [applause]
>> with tough but fiscally responsible choices, we cut $5.6 billion in state spending, and we reduce the size of our government. as we look ahead we know that these next four years will not be easy. unemployment and foreclosures remain unacceptably high. wages remain stagnant, and our national recovery has only just begun. we have a long way to go. none of us has all the answers, but you and i rightly sensed what is at stake. we are in a period of profound economic change. it is a change that will affect all of our lives, and more important, the lives of our children, for the better or for the worse. in challenging times like these a different level of leadership, determination, imagination and creativity is required of every single one of us.
no generation of americans ever built monuments to their own comfort. if maryland is to succeed in this new global economy, is maryland's children are to be winners in this new economy, we must be willing to make the tough decisions, and the right investments, that move our state forward. forward by harnessing the full job creating potential of maryland innovation economy and life sciences, biotech, aerospace, trade and cybersecurity. forward by maximizing the new job opportunities generated in global trade through our modernized force, and then the next generation of clean tech and green tech manufacturing. forward by further in improving public education so that all of our children can earn a world-class education, and successfully compete in the global economy. forward by making college more affordable for more families i improving the skills of our
workforce, by building world-class institutions of higher learning. research, healing and innovation. forward by improving public safety and the security of our homeland. forward by restoring our advancing cleaner, greener, renewable energy future, and by taking the scale that emerging technologies like offshore wind and electric drive cars to create jobs in maryland. all of these pursuits are important and essential to the future. each creates new jobs and new opportunities. and progress on one requires progress on all. i believe in this decade of hours. the better future that we seek god first in maryland. there is not another state their position that we are to transform the global challenges that we face in jobs here and opportunities here in our own new economy. when we are at the threshold of
brilliant science, innovative technology and remarkable discoveries that will remake this world of ours better. from the schools, laboratories and companies in maryland are emerging discoveries, technologies and jobs that will remake our world, transform better opportunities, and a better world for our kids. in the search for answers, and solutions, maryland is not some random scattering of isolated individuals totally on our own. in fact, there are some challenges that are so large that we can only really address them together. making this new economy hours, spurring innovation, harnessing its job creating and healing, improving public schools, public safety, public works, and the protection of our public health. and yes, our natural resources. we need each other, as much as the next generation needs us.
we cannot allow our individual sense of entitlement to care for our shared sense of community. we must move beyond, beyond debilitating idea that our children so that will not enjoy a better quality of life than we have. that we are destined somehow too declined backslide and fail. i say our best days are ahead of us, if we choose to make it so. [applause] >> the fabric of our social and political lives with stretch and tour by the politics of division. violence casts a long shadow, but we cannot allow fear to separate us. we must find ways to move forward together. we must find ways to make it in america. and maryland, our maryland, had a special responsibility right now to defend and brighten the
constellation of progress that calls our country forward. for maryland is a vibrant, living system, blessed by beautiful diversity, different cultures and forests, cities and towns, diverse religion and farmland, historic universities and rivers, devotion, song. to heal our painful economic and political wounds, we must connect more of maryland's to herself. it is not as if there is religion here and science their, government and economics over there, corporations in that corner, children over there in a playground, all separated neatly in the world speech we will leave the last couple of minutes of this record a program, take you live now to the u.s. in what they are about to gavel in to start their day. first up, and our general speeches and in about 10:30 a.m.
eastern they will start work on a resolution honoring the tucson shooting victims and first responders to a recorded vote should take place about 2:00 eastern, and we might also your debate on plans to change the rules regarding the use of a filibuster. life to the senate floor here or c-span2. lead our senators above all irrelevancies and trivialities to a unity of passion and purpose. create in them an elevated and refined patriotism that will make them eager to know and do your will. may the words of their mouths and the meditations of their hearts be acceptable to you, o god, our strength and our redeemer.
in the awareness that "without a vision the people perish" give our senators a fresh vision of the united states of america. also, keep ever before them the dream of the better world that is yet to be. we pray in your great name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington d.c., january 26, 2011. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable kirsten gillibran, a senator from the state of new hampshire, -- state of new york to perform the duties of the chair. signed: daniel k. inouye, president pro tempore. mr. reid: there will be morning business until up to 10:30 this morning. republicans will control the first half. the majority will control the final half. at 10:30 the senate will proceed to the consideration of s. res. 14, a resolution honoring the victims of the tragedy in tucson, arizona. there will be up to three and a half hours of debate on the resolution prior to a vote. as a result, senators should expect a roll call vote at about 2:15 today. following the vote we'll resume morning business with ten-minute
limitations. madam president, there are three bills at the desk due for their second reading. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the bills en bloc. the clerk: s. 162, a bill to cut $500 trillion of spending in fiscal year 2011. s. 163, a bill to require that the government prioritize all obligations on the debt held by the public in the event that the debt limit is reached. h.r. 2, an act to repeal the job-killing health care law and health care-related provisions in the health care and education reconciliation act of 2010. mr. reid: i would object to even further proceedings with respect to each of these bills. the presiding officer: objection is heard. the bill will be placed on the calendar. mr. reid: madam president, i would note the absence of a quorum and ask the time be charged equally. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
mr. thune: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota. mr. thune: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. under the previous order the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will be in a period of morning business until 10:30 a.m. with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each, with the time confide and controlled between the two leaders or their designees with the republicans controlling the first half and the majority controlling the final half. mr. thune: madam president, i rise today to speak about the issues that i think are most important to the american public. i appreciated the opportunity that i had last evening along with the presiding officer to sit and listen to the president's state of the union address, which is an annual rite of passage where the president lays out his blueprint and his vision for the next year. in those remarks, he did, as he did last year, touched on a number of themes that i think speak to issues that are
important for the country to face. and certainly there were things in that speech that i agree with in terms of the things that he said that we need to be focused on, some things that i didn't agree with. but i think in terms of the broader agenda, what strikes me about the speech is he talked about the need for tax reform, which is something i agree with. i think it's an issue of competitiveness. he talked about medical malpractice reform, which is something that many of us have been trying to get, get part of the health care reform debate in this country for a long time. unfortunately, that got left on the cutting room floor last year. he talked about strengthening social security and entitlement reform, also a critical priority if we are serious about getting spending and debt under control. and he also talked about regulatory reform and looking at government reform and the types of things we may be able to do to streamline or shrink or make more efficient the federal government. he talked about the importance of enacting trade agreements.
i couldn't agree more. i think that trade is a critical part of our economy. export opportunity for businesses in this country would create economic growth. it would create jobs. those are trade agreements that have been stalled for some time in the congress. what strikes me about the speech, sph-pt, is this -- madam president, is this, and that is last year we heard a lot of the same themes. the president this year talked about a five-year freeze on spending. last year he talked about a three-year freeze. he talked about trade agreements a year ago. many of those things were struck a year ago, and yet we haven't seen the results of the rhetoric. what i would argue, i think, to the american people and all of my colleagues, it's important we judge people not by their rhetoric but by their actions. don't watch what we say, watch what we tkofplt i think that's true of anyone in public life. we all need to be judged by what we do and whether we follow through on the things we say
we're going to do. when the president talks about those priorities, i couldn't agree more. but frankly, madam president, in order for any of those things to happen, it is going to take presidential leadership, if we're going to do something on entitlement reform, something about spending and debt, the president is going to have to step forward with bold proposals to accomplish that. bold things, big things need to be done on a bipartisan basis. the opposite example of that i think we saw a year ago when the health care reform was debated in the senate. this affects one-sixth of the american economy, and yet we had a bill that passed the senate without a single republican vote. in most cases republicans were not included, were not consulted, did not have input into that piece of legislation. and so you have a bill that impacts one-sixth of the american economy, pass out of this chamber on a party-line vote. that is historic because in most
cases if you look throughout our nation's history, when this country needs to do big things, there is a bipartisan effort to try and get a bill that can attract broad bipartisan support. and so inasmuch as i support many of the things that the president said rhetorically last night, madam president, i would argue that the proof is in the pudding. we are going to wait and see now whether or not his actions comport with his words. because the talk about spending and debt really rings hollow if in fact you aren't willing to take on spending in this country, spending in our government, and willing to take on the issue of entitlement reform. in fact, not withstanding the president's talk last year about a three-year freeze on spending, we saw the largest build-up, the most massive expansion of government that we've seen literally since the 1960's. the health care bill is a $2.5 trillion new expenditure for the federal government when it's fully complemented at --
implemented at a cost i believe that will be much larger than that over time when you start seeing costs pile up and more people shifting into the government program. hopefully we're going to have a vote here in the senate. i believe we'll have a vote. our leader has indicated that we'll get a vote on repealing health care reform, in my view, before this things begins to get implemented, it would make sense to throw it overboard, start over and do it right and do it in a way that attracts bipartisan support and does something to drive down the cost of health care rather than increasing it. insurance rates are going up, not down. the massive taxes in that bill, of course, get passed on and so consumer end up paying more for their health care, not less. and the -- and i would argue that we're going to see some -- some disastrous results from some of the pay fors in the bill. the so-called class act which is another new entitlement program is something that even the chairman of the senate budget committee, a democrat chairman,
a year ago when this was being debated said it is a ponzi scheme of the highest order, something that bernie madoff would be proud of. it has a tailoff that will create deficits in the outyears and make the financial picture that we face even worse. there are so many things about this bill that argue for us to start over and do it right. i want to say this morning, madam president, because i want to focus specifically on the issue of spending and debt. much has been made of the fact that we're going to have a vote on march 4, the continuing resolution expires at which point we'll have to decide what to do in terms of funding the government. i hope that debate or the leadup to that vote sparks a debate about spending. because if we don't start getting spending under control, this problem that we have continues to snowball. we have a $14.3 trillion debt. and the other point i would make is there's another big in late
march or early may, in the april time frame most likely where we're going to have to raise the debtly. we're at $14.3 trillion in debt as a nation. we're going to have to extend the nation's borrowing authority above that so that we can finance the government. now, we have maxed out the credit card. we cannot do this any longer. we don't have the luxury of time. when you're facing a $14.3 trillion debt, much of which we owe to other countries around the world, we put ourselves at great peril. we put our economy in great per he ill. i would argue it's a national security issue and i'm not the only one saying that, madam president. the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, admiral mike mullen, said a few years back that the greatest threat to america's national security is our national debt. now, that is the top-ranking military official in this country. -- country saying -- we talked about the greatest threat to america's national security. he could have talked about al qaeda, he could have talked
about the iranian nuclear program, he could have talked about china, he could have talked about north korea. but what did he say? the greatest threat to our national security is our debt. that speaks volume of what we need to focus on and what we public initials the united states senate need to devote our energy to. when we think about that, there are a couple of things obviously you can do. i have advocated as have others that we go back to the 2008 spending levels. because in the last two years we have seen spending on the nonnational security discretionary part of the budget increase by 21% at a time when inflation in the -- and the overall economy is 2%. so the government has grown at 10 times the rate of inflation in the last two years. when the president talks about freezing spending this year, he is, in my view, dealing with an issue that really -- the only
analogy i can use is closing the barn door after the horse has already gotten out. we have a major problem. we have a dramatic runup in spending in the last two years and freezing it now will enshrine and lock into the baseline that massive increase in spending. if we go back to the 2008 levels, it will be painful, but we don't have the luxury of not dealing with this now. it's going to be painful, but it's going to be necessary if we're serious about providing a better future for our children and grandchildren. the alternative, madam president, is we continue to run up these trillion dollar dollar, $1.5 trillion deficits year over year over year and adding significantly more to that debt and putting ourselves on a trajectory when i think our economy is in great peril in the future. that's one aspect of it. we talk about the nonnational security -- the national security part of the budget is being scrutinized and scrubbed. the secretary of defense, robert gates, has made it clear that they are going to try and find
savings and efficiencies in there. to the tune -- i think they determined that they can save somewhere in the order o of $250 billion in the defense budget. then you have social security, medicare, medicaid. medicare and medicaid are driven by health care costs, and until we figure out what we're going to do on health care to reign that in -- rein that in, it's going to be complicated to fix medicare and medicaid. that being said, i think that's what argues for actually the putting remedies in place that will put downward pressure on health care costs, on utilization, so we can bring health care costs back into control. there are a number of good ideas out there about how to do that. the debt commission made recommendations, although most in the area of medicare and medicaid were largely cosmetic because they couldn't come to an agreement on how to fix medicare. social security, madam president, is available. it can be fixed. i think that the debt commission made a series of relations.
i hope the president and his team will take seriously and come to the congress -- i think republicans here in congress are willing to work with him. because that's something that we can put on a sustainable path. we ought to do it and we ought to do it now. the longer we wait the worse the problem becomes. and so you've got the entitlement issues, you've got nonnational security discretionary spending, things that can be done that this president, if he's willing to put his rhetoric into action and take leadership, can actually put up a record of accomplishment for the american people. the alternative is we continue to add to the $14.3 trillion debt. now, i'm not going to sit here and say for a moment that it is didn't -- that we aren't all responsible for this. obviously there were previous administrations an previous congresses, we have gotten to where we are today because we didn't make the hard choice that's we should have and now the choices become much harder. i would also say, madam president, that in the last two years that debt has grown by over $3 trillion.
largely because of trillion dollar stimulus bill that we borrowed from our children and grandchildren, which didn't do anything to create jobs, but did add $1 trillion to the debt and the health care bill, which, again, the cost of -- many of the costs of that we are going to see into the future, but it has a profound impact on the fiscal picture that the country is going to be dealing with and going to be facing. what does it mean to finance a $14.3 trillion debt? it means this, we spend so much on interest that next year the amount that we spend on interest will equal the amount that we spend on national security. i mean, think about that. the entire national security defense budget to defend this country, that amount of money will be equaled by the amount that we spend on interest to finance the debt. and that continues to explode in the years ahead and if -- and if for some reason we were to have a runup in interest rates, if something happened in the
economy, with inflation starting to take off a little bit, generally interest rates would follow that and at some point in the not too distant future, you will see interest rates pick up. we have been able to finance short-term borrowing, if you saw interest rates reset and go up, it would have a more profound impact on the amount that we make to finance that debt. every child in america today under the age of 18, madam president, owes $114,000. because of that debt. in six years it will b be $196,000. what are we doing to future generation when's we saddle them with this enormous debt and put them in a position where they are going to be faced with a lower standard of living and a lower quality of life than what we've experienced simply because we didn't have the courage to make the hard decisions that were necessary to get this situation under control. and so, madam president, i would suggest to my colleagues, to the president after his speech last night, that this is not about talk, it's not about rhetoric,
it's about action. it's about what the american people asked us to come here and do. i think there were three messages coming out of the election last fall. the american people want us focused on the jobs, want us focused on spending, and want us focused on debt. we're going to have an opportunity in the next few months when the continuing resolution expires and look at the issue of funding government into the future to deal with the issue of spending when we get to the debt limit vote that will come up this spring, we'll have an opportunity to talk about the debt. it ought to generate and spark a serious effort here in the congress, not a cosmetic one, not a superficial one, not 1 where we provide lip service, but where we're serious about reining in spending, not just nonnational security spending, but also looking at the long-term issues that will affect this country's balance sheet well into the future and those are the entitlement programs. it's going to be tough stuff. it's not easy to do this.
if we made some of the hard decisions a few years ago, we wouldn't be in the position we are in today. i came here as a treshman congressman in 19 -- freshman congress man in 1997 and one of the big votes on the floor of the house of representatives was a vote on the balanced budget amendment. something that 38 states. our state of south dakota has a balanced budget. that vote passed. it takes two-thirds majority in the house and senate and 38 states to ratify to get a constitutional amendment approve. we got a big, larger than two-thirds vote in the house of representatives at that time. it came to the united states senate and it failed by one vote. 67 votes here is the magic number to get the two-thirds threshold. it got 66 votes in the united states senate. 14 years ago, madam president. i can't help but thinking how much better our financial picture would be today had we take thean step back in -- taken that step back in 1997 and put a
balanced budget amendment and enshrine that and impose this on the congress that hadn't existed. clearly politicians here in washington, it's too easy when it comes down to making hard choices to take the easy way and that is to put the bill and foot the bill to our children and grandchildren. it's time to stop. we can't afford this any longer, we're at $14.3 trillion and adding $1 trillion every single year. so this is going to require tough decisions, hard decisionings, but i believe -- decisions. i believe the american people are ready to step forward and deal with this challenge. i think they're looking for political leadership in this country to do that, to join them in that quest. it starts, as i said before, presidential leadership is critical to this. it's going to take leadership in the united states senate and the united states house of representatives. but we cannot afford to kick the can down the road any further, to punt the ball to the next generation.
it is not fair to them. and for generations in this country we have had a sort of guiding principle and that is jugeneration sacrifices so the next generation can have a better way of life. we may turn that on its ear and ask the next generation to sacrifice because we're not willing to live within our means. i hope that we can muster the courage that is necessary and i will do everything i can to continue to shine a light on this issue as we get into the budget debates. i have a series of budget reforms. i think that absent a constitutional amendment we ought to put statutory reforms into place that would force downward pretionure on -- pressure on spending. i have a bill that calls for a biannual budget. in the even number years we do more oversight. when people are running for reelection, instead of worrying about how to spend more money, we're doing oversight in looking at how to save money for the
next generation. and so i -- i'd like to get a debate on that. i think that we ought to make the budget resolution we pass here binding and give it the teeth and the force of law that it doesn't have today. i think there are a series of prescriptionings that would be worthwhile not only for us to entertain, but also to implement, to really take seriously the challenge that is before us. so i thank the chair for the time and i look forward to engaging the debate about spending and about debt and how to better create jobs in this economy for the american people which is what i think they want us focused on and i hope that it will be not just rhetoric, but action that follows. madam president, i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: how much time is remaining in morning business on the minority side? the presiding officer: six minutes and 47 seconds. mr. durbin: i ask unanimous consent to reserve that time. i don't believe there's another republican senator on the floor and -- the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: and ask consent to begin the democratic side of the morning business.
the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: thank you, madam president. madam president, i listened closely to the speech given by the senator from south dakota about the deficit, and i was thinking as he gave the speech that it was a good one, but a little bit of history is, i think, warranted at this moment. in the year 2000, 11 years ago, president william jefferson clinton was leading office. we had gone through a period of budget surplus -- surplus. we were taking the budget surplus generated each year and buying more longevity in social security as a program. it was a very positive situation. the national debt of america when president william jefferson clinton left office was $5 trillion. $5 trillion. in other words, the accumulated debt of america from george washington to the end of william jefferson clinton, $5 trillion. as president clinton left office, he said to president
bush, i want to give you in the next year $120 million surplus in terms of what you can anticipate to happen in the next year. it was a pretty positive situation, with a lot of job creation, businesses doing well and homes being built. now fast forward from twaou to 2008 -- from 2000 to 2008. eight years later, let's take a snapshot, what was the state of the economy? we were facing unemployment at record levels and numbers growing by the month. we no longer had a national debt of $5 trillion. eight years later, after president george bush, that national debt was $12 trillion. more than doubled in an eight-year period of time. and the obvious question is: what happened? why were we doing so well eight years before and had fallen so badly into the situation eight years later? we had two wars that were not
pad for. we added those to the national debt in iraq and afghanistan. we had tax cuts, tax cuts even to the wealthiest people in america, something that had literally never occurred in the history of the united states, and that added directly to the debt. and we had programs unpaid for, signed by the president into law, very expensive programs even in the area of medicare. accumulate those things with the 9/11 occurrence and the downturn in the kpheurbgs and we saw -- economy, and we saw our national debt go from $5 trillion to $12 trillion. instead of president bush leaving new president obama a surplus for the next year, they anticipated a $1.2 trillion deficit in the next year as president bush left office. that is what barack obama inherited 24 months ago. 24 months ago. and now to hear some of the comments being made, you would think that president obama had created the deficit crisis in
america. he inherited a deficit crisis from president george bush. and he said the first thing we need to do is get this economy up and running. the republicans were virtually no help. only three republican senators joined us in a stimulus bill which is now being mocked and criticized but in fact one-third of the stimulus bill was in tax cuts. another third safety net, unemployment insurance as well as help to state and local governments. the final third, infrastructure. building roads and bridges and things across america for our economy. that's what the stimulus package was. did it bring us back in a hurry from our recession? no. but it stopped the decline in our economy, and we are bringing ourselves back now. there's more consumer confidence being demonstrated than we've seen in a long, long time. i was a member of president obama's deficit commission. madam president, for the record, i want people to know that that deficit commission by the
president originally was legislation. it was a statute. we were going to enact a law to give this commission the authority to come up with a report and force congress to vote on it. powerful stuff with a lot of bipartisan support. when this powerful piece of legislation came to the floor of the united states senate, seven republican senators who were cosponsors of the bill, seven of them came to the floor and voted against the bill that they cosponsored. this effort to try to deal with our budget deficit in real, honest terms. after their vote, after the statute failed, the bill failed, the president said i'll create one by executive ofrpltd i served -- order. it was erskine bowles and alan simpson cochairing an effort with 18 members. at the end of the day 11 of us signed on to the final report. i always put the caveat and i
think most would -- i don't agree with all of it, but i think it is the closest we were going todom facing a terrible -- going to come to facing a terrible crisis in america. out of every dollar we spend in america we borrow 40 cents. that's unsustainable. we have to borrow 40 cents for every dollar we spend. where do we borrow the money? one of our major creditors was in town last week. president hu jintao of china. which takes me to the president's state of the union address last night. the republicans are fixed in one particular area. they believe that the sum and substance of all that we do in washington should be focused on the deficit. eupblgt deficit is kreut -- critically important. i think we have to do things unpopular and do them in a
sensible and timely way. but it isn't the whole story. what the president tried to remind us of last night is that we also have a great american economy. we have to ask ourselves will that economy be able to compete in the world of the 21st century? how will we do against competitive nations like china, japan and germany? those are questions asked by the president last night. and i've heard many republican senators, congressman since say those investments, that spending, we don't need it. what we need to do is focus on the deficit. i think the president got it right. i think the president is calling for balance here. responsible deficit reform and investments in america that make a big difference in who we are and what we can be. the president talked about the sputnik moment tphraoeuft, madam president -- last night, long before you were born. 1957 is when the soviet union launched the satellite sputnik
into outer space. it scared us to death because here this nemisis of the united states in the cold war, the soviet union, with the capacity to develop a bomb that could destroy major parts of america was now in outer space and we weren't. they had a missile that launched a satellite. it was a tiny little thing about the size of a basketball, and it circled the earth. about that time in october of 1957, a chill set in on capitol hill when people got to thinking maybe we aren't as good as we thought we were when it came to math, science and education if the russians beat us into outer space in 1957. congress did something in 1958 that was in response to that that was considered radical at the time. congress came up with the national defense education afpblgt it was the first time in the history of this country when we offered college loans to
those owner veterans. it was a program that would reach across america and try to put more young people in college. did it work? look at the numbers. in 1940, 15% of college-age students in america went to college. in 1958 we started the loan programs. by 1960 the number of students, college-age students in college had grown to 3.5 million. two years later i was one of them. now fast forward ten more years to 1970. seven and a half million students were in college. the investment of this government into the national defense education act and student loans democratized college education. and i would say not only prepared us for a man on the
moon and nasa, but prepared our economy for more important things to come. let me give you one example. when sputnik was circling the globe, our scientists were sitting there you be set and frustrated that the russians were the first in space. in baltimore twhraorp scientists in a laboratory -- there were two scientists in a laboratory and they decided they would track the sputnik lab site. the russians were emitting a signal from this satellite, this little basketball-sized satellite. the scientists up in maryland said let's see if we can find that signal, find the frequency. and they did. then they used -- and i'm going to get lost here in a murray because i'm -- in a hurry because i'm a liberal arts lawyer -- they used something called the tkop letter effect --
dopplering effect. p-t department of defense said if you can tell us where the satellite is, how fast it is moving, could you kind of reverse that equation? we would like to know if we had a satellite in outer space whether we could figure out where your radio receiver was. they did the calculations and did the work and they determined it. the purpose in asking the question was so we could reach a point in national defense where if the russians launched a missile with a bomb on it toward the united states we could tell where it came from and launch one in rerpb. we did -- one in return. we did this calculation and started making the development of this in 1958 where we could figure out where the receiving station was on earth if there was a transmitting satellite. if it sounds like it might have led to something, it did. it led to a situation today where i can carry in my pocket here a blackberry which has a g.p.s. a g.p.s. came out of that
calculation. now we can basically determine, someone can determine where durbin is by where his cell phone is. that has become common technology and science but it was research by the federal government that led us 50 years later to this moment. the president was trying to make that point last night. when it comes to the future of our economy and whether we're going to be competitive, we need to invest, not a bad word, it's a good word, we need to invest in our country, in people so they have the education and training so they can compete; in businesses so they have basic research and the kind of incentives for innovation so they can move forward in growing their businesses and increasing the number of their employees and in building the infrastructure of america that makes a difference. ii will close because i see my colleague here from rhode island. there was a company a few decades ago that became very popular called land's end. most people know it. it since has sold to -- seekers
they own it -- sears, they own it today, land's end. when land's end was thriving, it was located in a small town in wisconsin. a lot of people wondered how could you run a big mail order operation in wisconsin. the answer was they had put together enough infrastructure that it worked. there were enough highways and enough ways to provide their product by mail and other delivery all around the united states. now we're in a new generation of challenge and that generation of challenge is calling for technology. the president last night talked about our advancing the technology of computer reach to make sure that we have high-speed computer accessibility across the united states. that technology, innovation and education is going to build a platform for us to be competitive. i think the president got it right. we deal honestly with the deficit. we don't do it so quickly that we make the recession worse. and we invest in our people so
we're ready to compete in the 21st century. madam president, i yield the floor. mr. schumer: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from new york. mr. schumer: first i want to thank my colleague from illinois for his as usual rights on the money words about the president's speech. i anticipate etkpwerg my colleague from -- eagerly my colleague from rhode island's speech. i rise to commend president obama for his pitch perfect state of the union message last night. his speech was unabashedly upbeat about the future of our country. fundamentally the president spoke about the need to preserve the american dream, to bequeath its promise to our next generation as our parents bequeathed it to us. the american dream, as i see it, is very simple t. means there's a strong likelihood that you'll
be doing pwer ten years from a -- better ten years from now than you're doing today. many people in america think that dream is in peril today. some people fear america is in decline, that our greatest periods of prosperity are behind us. to those who are sour and dour, who think america and its government can't do anything right, the president sent a clear message: you could not be more wrong about america. we are and will remain the most economically vibrant, the most culturally vibrant country in the world with the best system. we're the only country on earth, madam president, that tells a young man or young woman 12 or 13 or 14 years old, whether their family has been in this country 12 or six generations or whether they're a new immigrant, that you can achieve the stars.
no other country has that, and that's a precious, precious part of our birthright that remains live and well today as we see in the success of so many. it's true that we live in a much different world today than the generation that preceded us. the rules have changed. it's tougher to get ahead. unemployment is unaccept ably high and the competition for jobs is real. the middle class feels squeezed. as the president said, this shouldn't discourage us. it should challenge us. last night the president explained how we can rise to that challenge. he outlined how we can innovate, outeducate and outbuild the rest of the world, tapping the creativity and imagination of our populous. he urged us to invest in clean energy technology and other cutting-edge industries and challenged us to put a million alternative fuel vehicles on the road by 2015. thanks to the ennewty of
research, i believe we can achieve this ambitious goal. i'm also hopeful we can take up and pass clean energy legislation in the months ahead. the president also called on congress to reform "no child left behind" in order to restore america's global leadership in education. i'm particularly pleased that the president enthusiastically endorsed a permanent extension of the $2,500 tax credit i authored two years ago. i would like it to be higher to go to $3,000 this year. it's no secret that much of our nation's infrastructure is in disrepair. and that too many americans do not have access to high-speed internet or high-speed rail. for america to stay ahead of our foreign competitors, we need to improve the ways in which we transports people and information. since the days of henry clay, with the internal improvements,
when our nation builds infrastructure, economic growth follows, and this is clearly always been a government function. the president clearly understands this fact and spoke to it last night. the president didn't just focus on growing jobs, the economy, and middle-class paychecks last night, he showed an acute awareness of the need to rein in federal spending to get our nation's fiscal house in order. i echo his call to eliminate unnecessary government programs and to revisit and revise regulations that have long outgrown their usefulness. of course we need to find balance, but i'm confident that more can and will be done to make our government morage i'll and efficient. the president had the right blend, yes, cut out the waste, even eliminate wasteful and inefficient and duplicative program, but don't throw out the baby with the bathwater, don't throw the engine off the
airplane when the plane is overweight. and so the combination of growth, investment in our future and innovation with fiscal -- with fiscal moderation and reining in waste, it's just pitch perfect for the american people. and, lastly, i want to applaud the president for addressing one of the most critical matters facing the country, our broken immigration system. as you know, i've championed comprehensive embracing reform for -- immigration reform for some time and the president seemed to endorse many aspects of the approach, he likes the approach, bipartisan, as senator graham and i have put together. he has told us that several occasions. i look forward to working with him as well as our colleagues on the other side of the aisle as we map a path to comprehensive reform in 112 congress. madam president, some pundits and candy cappers said that congress seems subdued even
restrained last night. well, if last night's speech didn't seem like the part -- the usual partisan pep rally, that's because it wasn't. the president's speech was not meant to appeal to democrats or republicans or even to independents, it was meant to appeal to americans, and that -- and in that the president succeeded overwhelmingly. and the fact that we sat together, democrats and republicans, side by side, was a fine fit with the president's appeal to the whole of america, not to one side or the other. the address last night embodied so many of the values and ideals that unite us as americans. it displayed the kind of optimism that we relish, thrive on and believe in. it was a great speech, a wonderful moment of comity and i expect this moment will not fade soon and i hope so too. i yield the floor.
a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from rhode island. mr. whitehouse: madam president, i would like to compliment my distinguished colleague from new york on his remarks and i would like to add a few observations of my own, but i first wanted to echo very much what he said, what the president -- what he said. what the president did last night was to point a finger towards the future and for some people were just capable of seeing the finger. but for most people they really saw where he was pointing and he has pointed us towards an important future for our country. these are the issues we're going to have to address the decades ahead and we have to be prepared now and i wanted to touch about three areas that he pointed to. the first, of course, is infrastructure. i am not the only person in america who has noticed our
crumbling infrastructure. everybody who drives on our roads, everybody who goes across our bridges, everybody who has been to our water and sewage plants knows that we have underinvested in those areas for decades. as the president pointed out last night, america's own engineers give america a d for the status of our infrastructure. the environmental protection agency has estimated that we have 662 -- $662 billion in total capital needs for clean water and drinking water investments over the next 10 years. $662 billion that we need to put into our water and water treatment system in the next 10 years. by contrast in the so-called stimulus bill, we put in $6 billion, 1% of what we need. we have a lot of work we still have to do to make sure that america has the clean water
treatment and drinking water that it needs. and the infrastructure question is not just about infrastructure that the romance could -- romans could have built. it's not just about roads, bridges and water works. years ago the president referred to a put nick moment and -- sputnik moment to accelerate our space program. president kennedy, when he pushed to put a man on the moon in 10 years and bring him safely home, what that delivered was not just a man on the moon. what it delivered was the technology that allowed a company called comsat, a public-private corporation, to put up into space the satellite technology that became the infrastructure of our modern communication system. that was done because of that call to action and it's not just
our communication system that is core infrastructure as well as our roads and our bridges and our waterworks, it's also our information technology system, particularly in health care. when we build a robust health information infrastructure so that as an american you're no longer carrying your cardboard file-covered records from appointment to appointment, no longer having to explain who you are and what you've got and what medications you're on and why you're there for the u mteenth time, so that your pharmacist, so that the laboratories that you go to, so that the hospital that you visited, are all connected to your primary care provider who is directing the care of you for your condition, that is a piece of infrastructure that, like our health care infrastructure, will
enable enormous growth in the private sector. that's what infrastructure does. roads aren't valuable because people go out with picks and shovels and bulldozers and asphalt paffers and -- pavers. they're valuable because once they're made commerce runs across them. that is true of communication and information technology and broadband and our energy grid. we need to be investing in infrastructure and we need to think about our modern infrastructure, not just the infrastructure the romans could build. the other point the president made that was critically important is that american manufacturing now is not now competing on a level playing field with our foreign components. many people said this is a very america first speech, that the president seemed more nationalistic than he's been before. i suspect because in his years as president it has been driven home to him how many
disadvantages our foreign competition puts our manufacturers at. it is not fair. it creates immense disabilities for them and real handicaps and we've got to put american manufacturing back on a level playing field with their competitors around the globe. i can go to the cranston print work company in rhode island, which is one of the last remaining vestages of the rhode island textile industry. it was rhode island's textile industry that started the industrial revolution. it propelled rhode island to having more millionaires per capita than any other state in the country. and now it has withered away and companies like cranston print works that has been able to survive and be successful keenly know how bad the disadvantages are. you can take their c.e.o., george shuster, and he can give you a speech in how in almost every dimension of their operation they're at a
disadvantage and very often a disadvantage that america has created against their foreign -- our foreign competition. i want to mentioned one. i introduced the offshoring prevention act. if george shuster were to take his facility in rhode island and move it overseas, he could choose the year that he declared his profits and defer them to the most advantageous tax year. when he stays in rhode island he he has to declare his profits in that year no matter what. there is no reason on earth that we should reward an american company that moves its processes overseas with a tax deferral advantage that they don't get when they're here at home. my offshoring prevention act would prevent that. the last thing i want to say, because i see my distinguished colleague from arizona here on the floor, and i want to make sure i leave him time, is just a word about our long-term debt. i was immensely gratified that the president took a firm
position to defend social security. we all know who are familiar with the actual facts here that social security has never contributed a dime to our deficit. never contributed a dime to our debt and that it is solvent for more than a quarter century ahead of us. it is not an immediate problem and with very small adjustments it can be a never problem. in states like rhode island and new york, and i suspect arizona as well, we have people who count on social security. social security gives us freed freedom. social security gives our seniors freedom from want and freedom from fear. it gives them freedom from privation and freedom from poverty. and it gives the younger generation freedom to pursue their own dreams knowing that their parents will have a dignified old age because of social security and they can
take risks and seek opportunities that they would never otherwise be able to take if they had to know that they were the only support for their parents in their old age. if the only thing that stood between their parents and pennuring was them, thankfully social security gives that liberty to young people across this country as well as the freedom it gives to old people. so i'm delighted that he took this stand and that social security will not be improperly thrown under the bus of the important debt and deficit reduction work that we need to do and, with that, i will yield. i see, again senator mccain is on the floor. he's a distinguished senator and a great friend and i don't want to be taking time away from him. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: morning business is closed. under the previous order the senate will proceed to the consideration of s. res. 14, which the clerk will report.
the clerk: s. res. 14, honoring the victims and heroes of the shooting on january 8, 2011, in tucson, arizona -- mr. mccain: i ask unanimous consent that further reading of the resolution be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. mccain: madam president, the resolution states that -- that the -- we honor the victims and heroes of the shooting on january 8, 2011, in tucson, arizona, and as we all know and the nation and the world knows that on january 8th, a gunman opened fire at an event hosted by gabrielle -- gabrielle giffords. among those who lost their lives
was 9-year-old christina taylor green, dorothy morris, judge john roll, phyllis schneck and dorwan stoddard and gabe zimmerman. christina taylor green was a 9-year-old daughter of john and roxana green. she was born on september 11, 2001, had an interest in government and elected to the student counsel at mesa verde elementary school. dorothy morris was 76 years old attended the january 8 event with george, her husband, with whom she had two daughters and also critically injured as he tried to shield her from the shooting. john roll, who i will talk about later on, is a pennsylvania native who is 6 -- was 63 years old. he began his professional career
as a bailiff in 1972, appointed to the federal bench in 1991 and became a chief judge for the district of arizona in 2006. he was a devoted husband to his wife maureen, father to his three sons and grandfather to five grandchildren and heroically attempted to shield ron barber from additional gunfire. phyllis schneck, the proud mother of three, grandmother of seven and great-grandmother from new jersey, was spending the winter in arizona and was a 79-year-old church volunteer and new york giants fan. dorwan stoddard, 76-year-old retired construction work and volunteer from the mountain avenue church of christ, is credited with shielding his wife, mavy, a longtime friend
whom he married while they were in their 60's, was also injured in the shooting. gabe zimmerman, 30 years old and engaged to be married served as director of community outreach to congresswoman gabrielle giffords and was a social worker before working with representative giffords. we all know that gabrielle giffords was a target of the attack and was critically injured, and we overnight have received extremely good news in that her condition has been upgraded from critical to good. that's incredible news and is heartening to all of us. 13 others were also wounded in the shooting, including ron barber and pamela simon, who are both staffers to representative giffords. and several individuals including patricia maisch, army colonel bill badger, retired, was also wounded in the
shooting. roger salzeberger, joseph saddam dough, daniel hernandez jr. and steven rail helped apprehend the gunman, risking their lives for the safety of others. some of the actions took place during this tragedy have been carried extensively in the media. the reaction of the people of tucson, arizona, to this tragedy has been incredibly uplifting and encouraging to all of us. there are so many stories of courage and bravery associated with this action, the quick reaction of our police and other first responders was remarkable, not to mention the incredible and extremely rapid care
provided by the doctors and nurses and caregivers in tucson. so in this great tragedy that has taken place, we can again be comforted with the knowledge that our citizens reacted in the way that americans do, with heroism, with courage and with sacrifice. so, i think it is entirely appropriate that this resolution be passed as one of the first acts of the new congress of the 112th congress of the united states senate and house. i want to thank all americans for their concern, their prayers, and the sympathy and support that they have extended not only to the victims, their families, but also the people of
arizona. there will be discussion for weeks and months and years ahead as to how it was possible for this event to take place. and i don't pretend to know all of the answers. it is clearly a deranged individual, an individual who perhaps we could argue, though i can't say for certain, should have been brought to the attention, his mental illness should have been brought to the attention of the property authorities. we do have a law that provides for such a thing in the state of arizona. at the same time question needs to be asked: is it -- was his actions that we now have become very aware of, were they made aware to the proper number of people that they would take such action? the fact is that it happened.
the fact is that we who are elected representatives will continue to have contact with our constituents. we will do so and not be deterred by the actions of this deranged individual. we cannot allow the actions of a deranged individual to prevent us from interacting in a fundamental way with our constituents. they deserve it, and i am confident that we will be able to continue the practice of the town hall meetings, congress on your corner, the kinds of activities that are in some ways not entirely unique to the united states of america, but certainly isn't practiced in most parts of the world. so we are encouraged by the news concerning gabrielle giffords
and we will harbor the hope and prayer that she will return to her duties in the united states congress representing the people of southern arizona. we pray for the family of judge john roll and those others who gave their lives. senator kyl and i were at -- attended the various memorial services and events surrounding this tragedy in tucson, and we come away obviously with deep sorrow over the event. yet, at the same time, with a great deval pride and appreciation for our fellow citizens in tucson who have reacted in a heroic and giving and loving and sharing fashion. madam president, i guess we will be voting on this issue sometime this afternoon. and i know that other colleagues
of mine will be speaking in behalf of this resolution. with that, madam president, i would turn to the legislation introduced -- i introduce legislation to name the united states courthouse, united states courthouse in yuma, arizona, the john roll courthouse. is that legislation at the desk? no. the presiding officer: the legislation is not at the desk. mr. mccain: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. mccain: madam president, i ask unanimous consent further proceedings under the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mccain: i call up bill number 188 and ask for its immediate consideration. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the bill will be received. mr. mccain: madam president, i'm pleased to introduce
legislation with senator kyl that would designate the soon to be constructed federal courthouse in yuma, arizona, to be named in honor of chief judge john roll who died tragically during the senseless act of violence against congresswoman giffords and other arizonaans in tucson earlier this month. i had the distinct privilege of knowing and working with chief judge roll for many years. in fact, it was my honor to recommend him to president george herbert walker bush for nomination to the federal bench in 1991. he served with distinction. most recently, judge roll became known by so many in the state of arizona, the judicial conference and many in congress as a tireless advocate for the plaintiffs, defendants and judges in arizona by working to secure additional funding and resources to assist the court in its heavy caseload. the morning of the shooting, he was in line to speak to
congresswoman giffords who was also afriend, about his efforts to have the ninth circuit declared a judicial emergency in the district of arizona. he died doing what he did each and every day, working to guarantee the federal courts in our state were capable of handling the growing caseload while ensuring swift justice for all. judge roll exemplified the qualities all presidents should seek in candidates for the federal bench. intelligence, humility, integrity and fidelity to the law. he embolded all these qualities and many more. additionally, he was known as a kind neighbor and dedicated father and husband and a loyal friend. he will now be known also as a hero. the arizona daily star reported on january 20, 2011 -- and i quote -- "surveillance footage of the january 8 shooting
campaign in tucson showed that judge roll used his body as a shield to cover the wounded ron barber. roll then took a bullet to the back and lost his life in the process. the judge is a hero, pima county sheriffs bureau of chief rick castagar, said." the article states that the suspected gunman shot barber, congresswoman giffords district director, almost simultaneously roll moved barber toward the ground and both crawled beneath the table, castagar said. roll then got on top of barber. judge roll is responsible for directing mr. barber out of the line of fire and helped save his life, castagar said. mr. barber told the "arizona daily star," that just gives me more admiration for the judge than i ever had.
john roll was a dear, deman. mr. barber and judge roll had been friends for many years, dating back to their days as college students at the university of arizona. most recently they worked together with the arizona congressional delegation to secure funding for a new federal courthouse in yuma, arizona, to alleviate the congestion at the tucson federal courthouse. in fact, judge roll had just reviewed the architectural drawings of the new courthouse weeks before his death and told my office that he was very pleased with the design. it's the hope of myself and senator kyl and every member of the arizona delegation that the architectural designs will soon include the name of chief judge john roll prominently on the building. this he esteemed jurist, friendd hugh row deserves this honor -- and hero deserves this honor and much more. our state has lost a good man, a
true and able advocate for justice for all and a great arrest -- and great arizona arizonan. i ask my colleagues to join me in this legislation taos allow this federal -- to allow this federal courthouse to be known as the john roll courthouse. madam president, i suggest the absence of a quorum with the time to be charged to both sides. the presiding officer: without objection. the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. durbin: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: madam president, what is the pending business before the senate? the presiding officer: s. res. 14. mr. durbin: thank you, madam president. i want to thank majority leader reid and our colleagues from arizona, senators kyl and mccain, for bringing this important resolution to the floor of the united states senate. it's been over two weeks, but our shock and sadness over what happened on that beautiful saturday morning in tucson is still very real. they were just ordinary americans engaged in what we might call the dialogue of democracy when a gunman stepped in and began firing. within seconds, congresswoman gabrielle giffords and a dozen
innocent bystanders lay injured and six irreplaceable lives were ended. most of us never had the good fortune to meet judge jun roll, gabe zimmerman, phyllis schneck, dot morris, dorwan stoddard or that beautiful little girl christina green. while they shared the earth with us, we didn't know them, but we have come to know them in the last two weeks. they were good and decent people who loved their families, tried to help others, and believed in the promise of this great nation. we mourn their loss. gabby giffords, our colleague in the house, believes in the promise of america's democracy. she believes in it so passionately that she chose to run for congress even though she probably would have found a more comfortable and even more financially rewarding life. she believed in the democracy so
much that she was one of those members of congress who would hop on an airplane and fly across america on a weekly basis to be back home in her district in arizona. she believed in this country so deeply that she continued to reach out to her constituents even after the end of a spirited campaign when a lot of members of congress were trying to find at least a few weeks to take it easy before they got back into the swing of things. she was concerned about her safety, but she was dedicated to her job and her nation and certainly the people she represented. we're grateful to all the doctors and medical professionals who worked wonders to save her life and to heal those who were hurt. we're grateful to the first responders and ordinary citizens who acted with such extraordinary courage to help the victims tackle the gunman and prevent an even more devastating loss of life. we offer our deepest condolences
to the heartbroken families and friends of those who were lost and all those who were wounded in body and spirit by this tragedy. we pray that time and god in his infinite mercy will bring them comfort and peace. a few days ago, we were encouraged to learn that congresswoman giffords was moving to a rehab hospital in houston to begin a new phase of her recovery, and just yesterday her overall medical condition was upgraded to good. certainly good news. soon we need to begin the next phase in our national discussion of this tragedy in order to lessen the prospects of such violence in the future. we cannot simply mourn and move on. we have to have the courage to face this tragedy squarely. it appears this terrible carnage was caused by a man with a history of mental illness and a gun. it isn't the first time. in 1981, president ronald reagan was shot by a mentally ill man
with a gun. nearly four years ago, a mentally ill student shot and killed 32 people at virginia tech. on valentine's day, 2008, a former student with a history of mental instability walked into the lecture hall at northern illinois university in dekalb, armed with a shotgun and three handguns. he killed six people, including himself and injured 21 others. in 1998, a man with a serious mental illness walked into this building, the united states capitol, and before it ended, he had shot and killed two members of the capitol police force. some are going to argue you just can't stop a disturbed person who is intent on committing an act of violence. to some extent, that's certainly true, but you can take steps to limit the harm that person can cause by keeping the deadliest of weapons out of that person's hands.
the gunman in tucson used a semiautomatic handgun with a high-capacity ammunition clip capable of holding over 30 rounds. he fired off 31 shots in a matter of seconds before he had to reload and was tackled by brave citizens. if he had had to reload sooner, say, after ten rounds, at least nine people in tucson would not have been shot. high-capacity clips were used to commit mass murder at virginia tech, at fort hood in texas, and in tucson. there is just no legitimate sporting or self-defense purpose for such high-capacity weaponry. hunters and homeowners don't need to fire 1 rounds in a matter of seconds. -- to fire 31 rounds in a matter of seconds. high-capacity clips were once illegal under the 1994 assault weapons ban, signed by president clinton, supported by presidents reagan, carter, and ford, but that law expired seven years ago
in 2004. even former vice president dick cheney, a hunter and an outspoken second amendment rights advocate, has said, in his words, maybe it's appropriate -- close quote -- to reinstate the ban on high-capacity clips in the wake of the tucson tragedy. we also need to plug the holes in the federal background check system to make it harder for people with a history of serious mental illness or substance abuse from getting guns. this man who is charged with the murders in tucson is someone who was rejected by our military because of his mental condition. he was also told to leave a community college because they feared that he was a danger to himself and others, and yet he could purchase a weapon and a high-capacity clip in arizona, in america. now, no one is proposing to take guns away from responsible hunters and law-abiding
citizens. the supreme court has made it clear individuals have the right to own guns, and i respect that decision, but the supreme court has also said that the second amendment is -- quote -- "not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose." end of quote. now, we ought to be able to agree to keep the deadliest weapons out of the hands of people who are seriously unstable. president obama gave a very moving speech in tucson about christina green. the little third grader had just been elected to her student council and often wore red, white and blue in honor of her country. the president said, and i quote -- quote -- "i want to live up to her expectations. i want our democracy to be as good as christina imagined it. i want america to be as good as she imagined it." end of quote. i hope that we will put political agendas aside, put our heads together so that we can lessen the chances of another
tragedy such as tucson. that would be the very best memorial we could build to those who lost their lives and the best we could do for america to do our job to keep it safe. madam president, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. mr. durbin: i ask the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: so i can make the following request. i have three unanimous consent requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. i ask unanimous consent these requests be agreed to and printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: and i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: